Gareth Bale has announced that he is retiring from club and international football with immediate effect. The 33-year-old’s playing career included stints at Southampton, Tottenham Hotspur, Real Madrid and LAFC. A career that spanned 17 seasons saw the Welshman represent his national team on 111 occasions, including that memorable EURO 2016 run and qualification for Wales’ first World Cup since 1958.
The forward’s contract at LAFC was set to expire in summer, but Bale’s immediate retirement means he’ll be stepping away from the sport just over a month after he said he’d continue playing following Wales’ group stage exit at the World Cup.
Born in Cardiff, Gareth Bale was the star of his school’s football team – alongside Sam Warburton, who would go on to captain the Welsh Rugby side on numerous occasions. Bale made his debut at Southampton as a sixteen year old, before making a £5m move to North London to play at White Hart Lane. Six years at the club saw Bale transition from a sturdy left-back to a flashy right-winger, with the Welsh international racking up 42 goals in 146 appearances for Spurs before breaking the world record transfer fee, with Real Madrid splashing £85m to secure his signature.
His Real Madrid career saw him become an integral part of the infamous BBC front three – lining up alongside Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo. 81 goals in 176 appearances was no mean feat when playing alongside the world’s best goalscorer, and Bale’s contributions were crucial to Real Madrid’s success during his period at the club – as they lifted three LaLiga titles and won five Champions League trophies.
Disagreements with management led to Bale’s relationships with the coaching team turning sour, and he was loaned out to former club Tottenham Hotspur for the 2020/21 season. He helped the side to a 7th-place finish, securing qualification to the inaugural Europa Conference League. On his return to Madrid, he was scarcely used in the 2021/22 season, and Bale announced that he would be leaving the club via social media.
Bale then joined LAFC in the MLS, where he scored twice in 12 appearances.
Football will surely miss Gareth Bale – who developed a remarkable reputation both as a Welsh hero, and a sporting icon. Whatever he chooses to do next, he will have the backing of over three million proud Welshmen, and all of us at FromTheSpot.